Jigsaw puzzle sales have soared during the pandemic, and chances are your favorite Midwest specialty store is out of stock. But here are some ideas to get you started.

By Ginger Crichton
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John McCormick of Michigan Nut Photography sells puzzles as well as prints of his stunning Midwest scenes—but McCormick’s puzzles are out of stock at the moment. “Just got off the phone with our supplier,” McCormick said. “They are swamped! We won’t have them back in stock until the end of May.”

McCormick's situation is shared across the U.S., where jigsaw puzzle supply can’t keep up with demand fueled by a nation looking for at-home diversions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The president of Ceaco, one of the largest domestic puzzle manufacturers, told NPR that sales at some stores soared 300 percent starting in March. German puzzlemaker Ravensburger said U.S. puzzle sales have been up 370 percent.

It’s a good problem to have, if you can make more puzzles—but puzzle manufacturing is facing coronavirus-related shutdowns or distancing rules that slow production.

Tyler Kingston Mercantile in Kansas City, “a modern general store,” sold out of its vintage-look succulents, herbarium and national parks puzzles and is now trying to get more. (Check online for current availability.)

Larger retailers such as Walmart, Target and Amazon do still have puzzles available, though you may not be able to find any specific to the Midwest.

However, Visit Indiana has stepped up with digital jigsaw puzzles—guaranteed not to go out of stock.

The state tourism agency created 10 digital puzzles featuring Indiana destinations such as Indiana Dunes National Park, Turkey Run State Park and Bridgeton Mill. The puzzles, which can be done on your phone or computer, range from 16 to 200 virtual pieces and can be found here.

“It is proven that jigsaw puzzles can sharpen your brain and improve your mood,” Visit Indiana wrote on the blog announcing the puzzles. “To help you out, we have created ten digital jigsaw puzzles featuring some of the most beautiful landscapes in Indiana. Most of the photos were taken by travelers, just like you.”

Indianapolis has its own set of digital jigsaw puzzles, available here. And here's a digital puzzle from St. Paul, Minnesota.

You can also create custom digital jigsaw puzzles of your own Midwest photos to share with family or friends at websites like Jigsaw Explorer and Jigsaw Planet.

And keep checking with Midwest gift shops that are selling online—you might find that Midwest scene you've been searching for.